There’s A Leprechaun In My Bed
Copyright 2008 Julie Weathers All Rights Reserved
The birds chirped in the tree outside the bedroom. Damned birds. That tree had to go. Didn’t they know I was awake most of the night and I need my rest? Of course they didn’t, they’re birds.
I rolled over in bed and reached out to the spare pillow to draw it in close to me and cuddle like a teddy bear, so I could go back to sleep. Funny. The pillow shouldn’t be this lumpy. Or warm. Or have a belt. Did I put a teddy bear in bed last night? Couldn’t have. I don’t have one. So what is my pillow doing with a belt? I opened one eye as my fingers continued to explore my pillow, which was apparently resting on top of another pillow. My pillow had a face.
“Auuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhh!” I screamed.
“Auuuuuuuuuuuuugggggggghhhhhhhhh!” my pillow screamed.
I jumped out of bed, jerking the top quilt with me and wrapping up in it very dramatically, even though my lavender flannel pajamas with the cute little purple violets and the purple embroidered trim covered just about everything very modestly from my nose to my toes. The scenes in movies demanded I be wearing something sexy and revealing as I discovered a strange man in my bed. The strange–whatever–in my bed would have to settle for flannel. I looked closer at the creature clutching a sheet up around his throat, covering himself also as he sat on my pillow in wide-eyed horror.
“Auuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhh!” I screamed.
“Auuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhh!” my not pillow screamed.
I backed up a few steps, tripped over my son’s duffle bag, which he had promised to come get and had forgotten, and fell backwards into the closet. “Don’t come near me,” I said to the creature, pointing a shaking finger at him as I fought my way out of the packed closet. I was fairly sure I resembled something akin to a giant lavender turtle on its back as I clawed my way out.
The creature lowered the sheet a bit, revealing his bow tie. “Who would want to?”
Not bad enough to wake up next to a creature, I have to wake up next to a discerning creature.
“Who are you?” I spat as I regained my feet and pulled the quilt back around me.
“Martin Michael O’Malley,” he replied, lowering the sheet a bit more.
He rolled his bright green eyes. “Do yeh think so, lass?”
He stood up on the pillow and dropped the sheet, revealing himself to be what appeared to be a leprechaun. I grabbed the nearest weapon I could find and narrowed my eyes. “Get yer, dirty shoes off my good pillowcase, before I swat you like a fly.” I brandished my weapon for emphasis.
He looked at the nerf bat, which was broken in two places and drooping like a too-done stalk of spaghetti. “And do yeh plan on brainin’ me with yer leettle yallah saerd?”
“Saerd?” I raised the bat higher in my best en garde pose with the quilt draped jauntily about my shoulders and my too-loose pajamas fluttering slightly in the breeze from the ceiling fan.
“Saerd! Saerd!” He made a few thrusting and slashing motions with a small fist clenched about an imaginary sword.
“Sword! Um, no, it’s actually a bat and get off my bed.”
He hopped off the bed and brushed his clothes off, straightening his tie and vest then extending his hand. “Martin Michael O’Malley at yer service, lass.”
I lowered my saerd slowly and grasped his hand. “You’re a…lep…lep…lep….”
He winked and smiled at me. “Aye, that ayh ahm. Aym ah leper.”
I jerked my hand back and brushed it off on my pajamas. The blood drained from my cheeks as my head began to spin.
“Jest ah joke, lass. Aym a leprecahun as yeh rightly assumed.”
I waved my hand in the air and trudged off into the kitchen to make coffee, trailing my quilt cloak behind me like a child with their favorite blankey. “I need coffee. I need to wake up. Why would I dream about leprechauns?”
My dream hopped up on the counter and waited patiently for me to make coffee. I ignored him, it’s always the best to ignore irritating dreams, and turned to making some Malt-O-Meal.
“Oatmeal is better fer yeh, lass. Gud fer tha heart an’ yer ahrteries an’ keeps yer bowels runnin’ smooth.”
“I hate oatmeal and don’t worry about me, my bowels.”
He drummed his heels lightly on the cabinet doors and examined his fingernails.
“Stop kicking my cabinets. You have any idea how hard I worked on those?”
“An’ ah fine job yeh did, if Ayh do say so meself.” He nodded his head wisely. “Tis tha Irish blood cahrsin’ through yer veins. Nothin’ layk fine Irish craftsmanship.”
I scratched my head, trying to decipher what he had just said. “Do you mind if I ask why you’re here before I wake up and you poof?”
“It’s come tah our attention yer son an’ yeh have yer hearts set on visitin’ tha old cuhntry.”
I blinked slightly and stared at the coffeemaker to see if it was close to producing something drinkable. “Yes, that’s our goal. So, what does that have to do with this dream?”
He tilted forward and jumped down from the countertop. His shoes clacked hollowly on the tiled floor as he trounced over to me. “Now lookee ‘ere. Ayh ain’t got forever tae get yeh goin’ an’ no offense, but Texas is about the most desolate place on airth fer a leprechaun. Nae grass ayr flowers ayr trees ayr Guinness I see.” He closed my refrigerator after a disappointing search for Guinness. “Tis a desolate damned place fer ah proper leprechaun.”
I sipped the black coffee as I leaned against the countertop and listened to the pint-sized figment of my imagination ranting about Texas. I decided I must be really unhappy to say all those things in a dream. “Why would I dream you up here if it’s so terrible?”
He reached up and pinched me on the leg. “Aym naught ah dream. Aym a leprechaun and Ayh have been sent tae yeh with ah message. Sarta like Touched Bah Ahn Angel only better.”
I rubbed the spot on my leg where he had just pinched me. “Why would they, and who is they, send me a leprechaun?”
“Wahl, it’s naught layk Ayh really wanted tae come tae America, though some parts ayr fair enough. Ayh had a wee bit o’ trouble with me supervisors who felt Ayh might ha’e been neglectin’ me duty.”
I sat down at the table with my Malt-O-Meal and coffee. The skimmed milk looked particularly thin, weak and unappetizing this morning, but I poured it into the bowl anyway and mixed it all together, making a chocolate Malt-O-Meal gruel. Martin Michael O’Malley pulled out a chair and sat down beside me at the table.
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked him, still not thoroughly convinced I wasn’t dreaming.
“Ayh’d rather have a Guinness, but when in Texas do as tha Texans do Ayh suppose.”
I got up to pour another cup of coffee and set it in front of him. To my somewhat surprise he took a sip. Of course, if he was in a dream why wouldn’t he?
“As to yer why, me and Connor had a wee bit uf an accident as it waer an’ we seem tae ha’e misplaced me pot o’ gold. So while me supervisors ayr tryin’ tae recover it, Ayh’ve been assigned tae tha ATIB in tha travel an public relations department.”
I finished drinking my Malt-O-Meal gruel and set the bowl down then reached for a napkin from my stirrup napkin holder. I was still dabbing at the corner of my mouth when my dream recognized the napkin holder.
“Ay hope yeh washed thet thing afore yeh put yer napkins en it.”
I glared at him. “I’m a Texan not a barbarian.” He started to say something, but I cut him off. “I wouldn’t say that if you want to live long enough to enjoy your pot of gold.” I sipped more coffee and then got up to rinse the bowl and put it in the dishwasher. “What is ATIB?” I yawned.
“Aye, perhaps Ayh should just cahntinue on with me story. ATIB is the All Things Irish Bureau. So, anyway, Connor stopped by fer a visit but I was on gold guard duty an couldn’t join him fer a wee drink. I declined, but he ahssured me it twould jest be a wee drink an’ we would be back afore anyone ehven knew Ayh ware missin’. He does layk tae drink an since Ayh’ve been known tae drink a bit meself we sometimes find ourselves in predicaments yeh might say.”
I stuffed the pan in the dishwasher and poured some more coffee. “I can’t imagine.”
“So Connor tells me we can hide the pot o’ gold en this display at tha museum an’ slip away fer a quick toddy. Unbeknonwst tae me they was plannin’ on movin’ this exhibit tae America. We returns tae tha exhibit four days later an me gold was gone. Crated up an’ off tae America. Me supervisors decided it would be a good idea fer me tae work off ah bit o’ penance by drummin up a bit o’ tourism business. Ayh get tae convince yeh and yer son tae go tae Ireland and snoop around fer me gold. Course, they sent some others tae look fer it also. Wouldn’t be ah very good idea fer people tae realize the stories about the pot o’ gold were true, don’cha know.”
I rubbed my temples a bit, trying to understand why I was still dreaming. “It took you four days to get a quick drink?”
“Well, some drinks take a bit longer than others, but that’s neither here nor there, lass. My job is tae get yeh ready tae visit tha old country.”
I yawned again and wandered into the bathroom. My figment tried to follow me, but I slammed the door in his face. “Sorry,” I said. “Even dreams aren’t allowed in here. Now go away.” I was fairly certain by the time I washed my face, put on moisturizer—I had gotten fairly good about doing that since I embarked on my new me program—brushed my teeth, brushed my hair and took care of a few other things, I would be awake enough for the dream to be over. Somewhere in the back of my mind a small voice said if I was still dreaming all those things wouldn’t matter, but I ignored the voice just as I was ignoring the leprechaun, who was complaining loudly about his smashed nose.
He was leaning against the wall opposite the bathroom door when I exited. I ignored him, but there are some things which are harder to ignore than others. Leprechauns are pretty much on the top of the list of cannot be ignored things.
“Go ahn an get dressed so we can go walk. Yeh want tae get back in shape afore yeh travel an’ thare ain’t but one way tae do thet.”
I ignored him as I slammed the bedroom door in his face. He was still waiting for me when I emerged, dressed and ready to walk. This dream was taking longer to wake up from than I had imagined possible. With my CD player firmly stuffed in my pocket and Reckless Kelly singing Seven Nights in Ireland in my ear, I headed out to the arena to walk. I glanced down briefly and was relieved to see no leprechaun by my side. As usual, the horses began to follow me as I made my trek around the arena. Seventeen songs equaled about 60 minutes. I was on song three when I noticed Skidboot walking beside me. That in itself wasn’t unusual, but she has a problem with focusing very long and normally about a quarter of the path around the arena was all she did before something else distracted her. She had now been following me for almost two laps. I looked around and stumbled into the fence as I recognized the leprechaun who was perched across her wide, gold back. His legs stuck out like wings as he knotted his fists in her silver mane.
“I thought you had poofed,” I huffed as I picked up the pace.
He kicked Skidboot into a trot, which did my heart good because she is rougher than a cob when she trots. “Ayh-ayh-ayh jest w-w-w-w-want tae h-h-h-h-help yeh, lass.”
I took pity on him and slowed to a walk.
“She’s a pretty little theng, but saints she ain’t much of ah pleasure tae ride.”
“Nope, she surely is not. Now how are you trying to help me?”
“Yeh, don’t want tae travel till yer in some kind of shape yeh think is impartant?”
I nodded and continued walking as I hummed Wild and Reckless Road.
“Then Ay’m gaing tae help yeh until they find me gold.”
“Let’s hope they find it soon,” I huffed.
Martin Michael O’Malley continued to ride Skidboot as I finished walking and then glibly hopped off at the end of the seventeenth song, Seven Nights in Ireland. That was my cue I was done.
“Tis ah nice song tae walk tae, but have yeh thought of tossin’ a few nice Irish songs intae yer walkin’ music?”
“Most of it is kind of depressing although it’s got a lilting tune.”
“Wahl, thet be true. Irish are always lookin’ fer a reason tae lament.”
I held the door open for him when we reached the house. He looked up at me and hesitated as if he thought it might be a trap, so I could slam it in his face again.
“Come on,” I said. “I need some water.”
He winked and hurried through the door then scooted around the corner into my office. The computer was already whirring to life by the time I got there. “What are you doing?” I squawked.
“Wae’re goin’ tae order yeh some posters o’ Ireland to encourage yeh.”
I sat down next to him and watched as he clicked his way to a site which had free travel posters. “I wasn’t aware leprechauns could use computers.”
“Well, we’re leprechauns not barbarians. Now, brownies and gremlins yeh don’t want touchin’ yer machine.”
“I’ll make a note of that though I doubt I will be seeing any brownies and gremlins.”
Martin turned and winked at me. “Did yeh thenk yeh’d be seein’ a leprechaun?”
“Not really,” I conceded.
By the fifth day, I was ready to rob a bank and fly to Ireland just to get rid of Martin Michael O’Malley. Fortunately for me, and the First National, his pot of gold was recovered and he was released from tourism duty. I decided to go to the grocery store in town and get a six pack of beer. Something better than Coors Lite. To my delight, I found some Guinness and thought with some fondness of my visitor. My mind was on the leprechaun when the clerk looked up at me.
“Will there be anything else, miss?”
“Aye, would yeh be so kind as tae ring me up some ice?” I answered in a heavy Irish brogue.
He blinked and added in the ice. “Irish?”
I winked at him and grinned. “Soon.”
And, the ever popular Irish Language Lab.